10 things I wish I knew before renting a campervan

Last spring I was traveling for several months and it was truly amazing! I started by spending 8 weeks in Australia and 2 weeks in New Zealand, both places I rented a campervan with a couple of friends and drove around the countries.
First, I want to say that I will recommend renting a campervan, because it truly was a great way to see a lot of things and we weren’t dependent on anyone else, and there isn’t really anywhere you can’t go or park with a campervan. Also, there are tons of free and nice campsites around both Australia and New Zealand so it isn’t all that expensive either πŸ™‚
That being said, there a couple of things I wish I had known before renting a campervan and living in one for more than 2 months.

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  1. A campervan is not completely “sealed” and it’s not able to keep out wind, at least not all of it, and it will get super cold, bring warm clothes!Β 
    • This wasn’t a problem in Australia but it really was quite hard to sleep in New Zealand because of how cold we were.
  2. Radio service is spotty so bring an AUX cord (Or buy one, it’s around 10$)!
    • I was surprised that this wasn’t in the car, to begin with! You are on the road for so many hours that sooner or later you’ll want to just relax and listen to music. We drove through many amazingly gorgeous and very remote places where there was no radio service so our AUX cord was worth every cent.
  3. It’s not that difficult to drive!Β 
    • I was so worried before we left, I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to drive that huge van, but really, it wasn’t that different! It was basically like driving a big car, and already after the first time it was pretty easy, so don’t fear πŸ™‚
  4. You can only use the plugs when you’re at a campground where you pay for power – Bring power banks, or buy them!Β 
    • From Denmark when we booked the vans we saw that there were a couple of electric plugs in the car and so we didn’t think that we’d have a problem charging our phones. But the plugs only worked when our car was plugged in at a campground where we paid for the power so I would have loved to know to bring power banks…Β 
  5. It can get “crowded”, but taking time to yourself is completely fine!Β 
    • Most of the time traveling in the campervan with friends was a lot of fun, but every once in a while I missed being able to close the door and be alone, something you can’t do in a van… But you should be able to just tell the others that you need a little time to yourself, they probably feel the same way. I didn’t want to say anything at first, because I was afraid that the others would be upset, they weren’t πŸ™‚
  6. Getting the beds ready can be super tricky until you get the routine down!Β 
    • The first night in Australia we spent sooo much time getting the beds ready, it took all of us and we were seriously debating whether or not we should just leave them out all the time, even though it would have been very annoying during the day when we were driving. Then after a couple of days though, it took one person and 3 minutes and around the same time to pack it all away again, so I’m glad we didn’t just give up!
  7. Don’t rely on your phone alone when it comes to finding your way!
    • Google maps is great! You can download offline maps and we used that a lot, but sometimes we would find roads so small that we couldn’t really see them on the map, or we would be looking for a well-hidden campsite that obviously wasn’t on google maps. So we often found ourselves relying on a physical map.
  8. Bring a rope or a clothesline or something along that for your laundry!
    • First of all, you can only do laundry at campgrounds where you pay to stay since they are the only ones with a laundry room. Second of all, you probably won’t have time to wait for your clothes to dry at the campsite, so it’s a good idea to bring a clothesline you can hang inside the van to dry your clothes while on the road.
  9. You won’t be as social as if you’re backpacking.
    • I figured that somehow driving around in a van we would still talk to a lot of new people, because lots of people were doing the same as us, driving around in vans. But we actually didn’t talk to a lot of new people, because even when we stayed at campgrounds surrounded by other campers, everyone had their only little base in their van and talked with each other.
      This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just something you need to be aware of, and if you do want to speak to new people it’s not impossible, it just takes a little more work than when you are backpacking and staying in hostels!
  10. You will love every second and miss it a little when it’s over, although you may not want to do it again anytime soon!
    • I wasn’t sure before I left if I would even like traveling like this, seeing as how I really don’t like camping in tents… But I really did like it, I actually loved it! And when I traveled on and wasn’t staying in vans anymore, I sometimes found myself missing it a little. Although I have to admit that I’m not sure I’ll be traveling like that again anytime soon, but I’m so glad I got to experience it!Β 

So there you have it, my list of 10 things I wish I knew before I rented a campervan and traveled around in them for more than 2 months! I hope you liked this post, and I’d love to hear about your experiences with traveling like this πŸ˜€
Lots of love, Anne

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